Weekend Race

Week 1 of training is almost complete! Wednesday is my “we’ll see how we feel day” for marathon training. If I’m feeling strong I may run a few miles or if not, I’ll cross-train at the gym. This week I cross-trained an did a Body Pump class. I would’ve liked to also do elliptical or the bike beforehand, but it wasn’t in the cards. The class was good as always, but I kept my weights lighter than I usually would chose for legs so they weren’t too fatigued for my 6 mile run Thursday morning.

Thursday morning came and I could definitely tell I went back to Body Pump. I wasn’t too sore, but my legs didn’t quite feel refreshed. I’m ok with that though because learning to run on fatigued legs is part of training. The leggies (yep, that’s a word) are going to get fatigued on marathon day; better to practice before then.

The 6 miles were good. It was my first tempo run and I did a straight out-and-back course.

I’m not very good at slowing down after the tempo part is over though..

tempo

Case in point: Mile 5.

It was supposed to be 2 miles easy pace, 2 miles tempo (gradually building up to a faster pace), 2 miles easy. Clearly I had a need for speed. In all fairness, mile 5 was the downhill of one of the biggest hills I run so I had some extra “ump.” Just like mile 2 was the uphill. Why slow down when you can fly?!

So yeah, tempos are supposed to be slower than my interval days on Tuesdays but faster than my long runs on Saturdays. It’ll be interesting to see how I progress over training with tempo runs. Once I’m in a groove of running fast I don’t like to slow down. Learn child. Learn.

Today is a scheduled rest day, which I love that Fridays are rest days BTW. I can tell I’ve stepped it up with training in the past week because I’ve been a little extra tired and hungry. Just when I got into the groove of eating while not training I have to switch it up once again. Last night I was in bed by 8 and slept through the whole night. 9 hours on a weekday? I’ll take it!

Tomorrow I’m running the Freedom Fun Run 10k here in Greensboro.

It will be my first Greensboro race (shame on me) and my first official 10k. I’m really excited for it! I have two friends that are running with me so it should be a good way to kick off training. Since my schedule calls for 8 miles tomorrow, I’m running two miles before the race to beat the heat. We’re having our first summer weekend with temps over 100. Oi. The joys of summer in the south!

Do you have any Fourth of July races planned?

Yoga and Speedwork

In going with my theme of quality over quantity this training period, I have designated Monday’s for Yoga, Tuesday’s for interval runs, and Thursday’s for tempo runs.

I started the week off on Monday with a Yoga for Athletes online class. (The link will take you to the class if you’re interested in trying it.) It’s taught by Sage Rountree who practices yoga in the Raleigh-Durham area; about an hour or so away from me. Here’s more about her background and the class:

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This online yoga class for athletes and everyone is part of a weekly series taught by Sage Rountree, an endurance sports coach, runner and triathlete herself. She regularly writes for Runner’s World and Yoga Journal online and has several books and DVDs. In this particular class, we look at our nemeses: poses that frustrate us. Find more freedom in Warrior I; fly into crow; open into camel; experiment with really letting go in corpse pose. Along the way, you’ll build strength, flexibility, focus, and the equanimity to approach both the poses you love and the poses you find challenging.”

It was a good class, the first of hers that I’ve practiced, but it was pretty slow for me. I like power or (vinyasa) flow style yoga the best, but I still learned a few good stretches I can incorporate during my post-run cool downs.

If you’re interested in more Yoga for Athletes- style classes, here is a list of DVDs I found on a Runner’s World forum.

Yesterday was my first speed work day and I must say I am a huge fan thus far. It was a cool morning here in NC (around 60 degrees!) and I got a tough workout in before 7:15am; a great way to start any day. 

intervals

Breakdown:
10 min warm up
6 x (1 min fast, 3 mins easy)
10 min cool down

I saw lots of other runners in the neighborhood I ran in; just another reminder that I love doing this!

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What my last marathon taught me

As with all things you experience in life, once you’ve done it you know better for next time.

Here’s a list of some of the things I learned from my first marathon. Some things I’ll keep and others to improve on.

1. You can’t run every training run at race pace.
 
Otherwise you’re running the race. Mixing up your run speeds gives your body room for improvement in speed, agility, strength, and the prevention of injury.

Tempo runs, hill intervals, mile repeats, fartleks (Swedish word for “speed play”), long runs, Yasso 800s, recovery runs, easy runs. They all serve a different purpose and help you in training.

I plan on mixing up my training this round and quit trying to be a speed demon for every workout.

2. You don’t have a license to eat everything in sight.
I haven’t touched much on nutrition throughout the blog and that may be surprising for some considering that’s what I do for a living. I’m being honest when I say eating to fuel your body for a marathon is completely different than a “healthy diet” or eating for fat loss.

Proven fact: You cannot follow a fat loss diet if you’re training for a marathon. Unless you want to continually bonk out.

Carbs give us marathoners fuel to burn for our long runs in training and for the actual race. Fat loss diets (I’m not talking Atkins here) include restricted carbohydrates, particularly simple carbs (white breads, pasta, even candy..that’s all Gu and block shots are, anyway). Simple carbs are the carbs most valuable to marathoners before training runs and leading up to races. Complex carbs (whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc.) are our recovery carbs.

So, while I’ve noticed since I’m getting closer to the NYC Half and my training runs are increasing in distance, the hungry monster has returned.

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It’s everywhere I tell you.

While anyone that knows me, knows I love food (hence the name for this blog) it’s kind of annoying being hungry all the time now.

Since I had from December-February to “eat normal (every 4-5 hours)” a.k.a not every 2-3 hours, I realize how much I actually had to have been eating during marathon training. Granted, I choose healthy foods 80-90% of the time, but that other 20-10% you can bet I was eating cookies.

Those healthy foods were also pretty heavily focused on carbs and processed foods.

This time around my goal is to be smarter with my diet. Over the past several weeks/months I’ve been making the switch to less processed, more whole foods. The other side of that is the more whole foods one eats, normally it’s harder to get in all the calories you need because whole foods are naturally lower in calories and fat. That’s where nut butters and cooking oils come into play.

As a registered dietitian I obviously know what to eat but sometimes all that just gets thrown out the window. It’s all about balance.

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This just goes to show that knowledge does not equal action.

 3. Sleep
I feel like I always win in this category. However, it didn’t always start out this way. When I started training for my half marathon in February 2011, I noticed how continually tired I was when I being upping my mileage each week. Each night I was forced into bed at an earlier time because I just was not functioning on 6 hours of sleep.

When marathon training came around in summer of 2011, I was used to a 9:30pm bedtime. So my 8.5-9 hours of sleep each night are now a staple in my life.

Sleep is when our body regenerates, repairs, and moves learned information from short-term to long-term memory. Crucial factors while training and life in general.

4. Alcohol
If you’re a runner, you know alcohol doesn’t mesh well with the running lifestyle. Even in college I was never pumped to spend 2-3 nights a week drinking with hangovers lasting the entire weekend.

Now that I’m an adult not only is that frowned upon, it certainly isn’t conducive to productive training runs.

I’ll go out for drinks maybe once a week and usually limit it to 2-3 drinks while I’m out. Drinking just isn’t a priority to me and hasn’t been since I graduated college. Being hungover is not worth it anymore, even if I don’t have a planned run the next day.

Research has proven that not only does alcohol affect sleep, it reduces muscle recovery, cancelling out gains made from workouts. (source)

5. Hydration
I was awful at hydrating during my long runs outside over this past summer. I got this for Christmas and am changing that stat.

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                                    Nathan Speed 2 Hydration Belt

6. Race Fuel
I did a pretty good job of experimenting with difference race fuels during my long runs last summer. However, my fueling strategy wasn’t 100% on race day. I hate Gu’s; the texture makes me want to barf. I tried other brands and PowerBar is good, but I still can’t suck down the whole packet.

Cliff Block Shots are yummy, but they get stuck in my teeth. Smile pretty for the race pictures with gummies smeared across your teeth! Yuck.

I didn’t hit a wall or anything during the marathon, so the calories, electrolytes, and hydration were good for me. I just need to figure out what kind of fuel I’m going to use in October so I can stop wasting time at aid stations.

I’m seriously considering Swedish Fish or Starburst jelly beans. Better stock up this Easter!

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Epitome of simple carbs, remember? I’m not too worried about the electrolytes I’d be missing if I were using an engineered sports product (Gu); I’ll get that from the sports drink on the course or put it in my hydration belt.

So there’s my quick list of some things I’d change and others I’ll stick with.

Now you tell me:
What things (if anything) do you want to change for your next race?